Doug Carn

Doug Carn (born July 14, 1948) is an American jazz keyboardist from N.Y.C. who recorded four albums for the Black Jazz label between 1971 and 1975, the first three featuring the vocals of his then-wife Jean Carn.

Doug Carn was born July 14, 1948, in St. Augustine, Florida. His mother occasionally played church organ and his uncle was a drummer and D.J. At age five, Carn took up piano and quickly learned to play by ear. For Christmas 1957, he got an alto sax and instantly nailed the solo on “Juggernaut” from the album Woofin’ & Tweetin’ by the Gene Ammons All Stars.

From 1965 to 1967, Carn studied oboe and composition at Jacksonville University. Though he felt stifled by the school band environment, he was fascinated by the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic theories espoused by composers Vituro Giannini and Aaron Copeland when they came to lecture the students.

In one of his early live engagements behind jazz vocalist Irene Reid, Carn invented a left-footed trick on his organ bass pedal as she sang “Joey, Joey, Joey.” He made it a key tenet of his playing technique. His favorite musicians during this time were Samuel Barber, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Charles Ives, Erik Satie, and McCoy Tyner.

In 1969, he graduated from Georgia State College and headed to New York City, where he formed the Doug Carn Trio with guitarist Gary Starling and drummer Albert Nicholson. Their singular album, released on Savoy records, features Carn on organ. It has six cuts, including “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” a tribute to his mother’s organ playing.

Carn met singer and multi-instrumental music major Sarah Jean Perkins. The couple married and she assumed the name Jean Carn. They moved to California, where they signed to Gene Russell’s Oakland-based Black Jazz label.


  • The Doug Carn Trio (1969 • The Doug Carn Trio)
  • Infant Eyes (1971)
  • Spirit of the New Land (1972)
  • Revelation (1973)
  • Adams Apple (1975)
  • Higher Ground (1976 • Doug & Jean Carn)
  • Al Rhaman! Cry of the Floridian Tropic Son (1977 • Abdul Rahim Ibrahim)
  • A New Incentive / Firm Roots (2002)


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